Dear President Roth and Board of Trustees,
We the students, faculty, and alumni of Wesleyan University ask the trustees to (1) immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies and (2) divest within 5 years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds, while considering reinvestment in renewable energy. We believe that this is not only a financially secure decision for the endowment, but also a moral imperative considering the implications global warming has on human rights. We also believe that such an action would set a powerful precedent encouraging other campuses across the country to divest as well.
As of now, any global temperature increase of over two degrees Celsius would be considered a catastrophe by the scientific community. In order to remain profitable, the fossil fuel industry would have to propel us far beyond this point of disaster. Divestment offers the opportunity to make a powerful moral statement about the unjust actions of this industry, while building momentum for moving money into clean energy and community development.
Wesleyan already has made a number of great strides in fulfilling its commitment to sustainability, such as fully endowing the College of the Environment and establishing the Green Fund. However, this commitment cannot be viewed as genuine as long as the university is profiting from the actions of fossil fuel companies.
As President Roth said in his inaugural address, “As other institutions focus on maintaining the status quo and avoiding risk, we can be proud of the qualities of mind and heart that are enhanced by the education we offer… Wesleyan should not pretend to be able to cure the ills of the world, but we must be a responsible institutional citizen - locally, globally, and nationally.”
To preserve the quality of life for our generation and future generations worldwide, we urge you, President Roth and the Board of Trustees of Wesleyan University, to join a growing movement of institutions of higher learning across the nation and divest its investment funds beyond fossil fuels and help to prevent more extreme climate change.